By Luciano Trigo*
Even in the limited time span of a generation, there seem to be phases in which things stand still in terms of historical development and others in which, on the contrary, history seems to accelerate abruptly, as if driven by an irrepressible impulse.
In many ways, we are living in such a phase.
The pandemic and the social experiments it spawned – in terms of population control, certainly, but not only that – ended up articulating and potentiating a series of movements that were certainly already underway, but that, in the unprecedented global scenario created by Covid-19, gained enormous traction.
I cite at random, as examples:
- the strange alliance between the left and big capital,
- the consolidation of the “juristocracy”,
- the manufactured consensus around the ESG agenda,
- the widespread woke laceration,
- the empowerment of identity movements,
- gender ideology,
- censorship in social networks,
- the Manichean polarization of politics,
- intolerance disguised as tolerance,
- the criminalization of thought,
- the hatred of the good,
- the adoption by the mainstream media of a single narrative,
- the resignification of censorship,
- the naturalization of neutral language
- and other practices that, not long ago, would have been dismissed as simply ridiculous,
- and so on.
It is not only happening in Brazil but also in the United States, Canada, and most countries in Europe and Latin America.
There is nowhere to run.
In fact, the frequent simultaneity of certain agendas in different parts of the planet generates the perception of a coordinated action – even in those people who usually distrust conspiracy theories.
As we know, “conspiracy theory” has a negative connotation, often used to ridicule unpopular opinions or intimidate those who do not follow the one-thought rule.
The fact is that, in most cases, conspiracy theories do not correspond to reality at all: they simply fulfill a psychological and emotional need to make sense of a meaningless world.
But some things are so weird that only a conspiracy theory can explain them.
Freud said that sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.
Conspiracies, on the other hand, are not always theories.
Nor are conspiracies necessarily the result of a paranoid mind.
Sometimes they really happen – especially when what is at stake is manipulating public opinion to serve an ideological agenda.
The simultaneity of certain agendas in different parts of the world creates the perception of a coordinated action – even in those people who are usually suspicious of conspiracy theories.
In this case, conspiracies may even occur in the open, without any concern for secrecy – especially when the subject of the agenda is a peculiar consortium between mega capitalists, large media corporations, and government institutions.
The accelerated implementation of this agenda even engenders a new form of democracy: democracy without confrontation of ideas, without healthy coexistence of differences, without real opposition, without freedom of expression, and, above all, without people.
Recent history itself has been rewritten at a dizzying pace. Political characters and events still fresh in our memory are reinvented and repaginated without the slightest ceremony or modesty.
This is how freedom of speech works in the new democracy: whoever disagrees is liable to be persecuted and flayed in the courts.
Just the other day, an important political leader openly defended the adoption of a certain narrative for a certain purpose.
And if I don’t say who it was, it is because self-censorship – which is an inevitable byproduct of censorship – is already in full effect in our country.
It is not today that journalists who are minimally critical and independent are policing themselves and measuring their words, especially after seeing what happened to some of their more courageous colleagues.
By the way, I have already anticipated the censorship; I mean, the regulation of social networks is coming soon: for some time now, I have only posted cute texts, pictures from the beach, or comments about chess matches.
For the time being, I think you can still do it.
Because this is how free speech works in the new democracy – celebrated and applauded by many journalists: anyone who disagrees is liable to be persecuted and flayed in the summary courts of the networks or even in conventional courts.
These are very strange times…
But, at least in the perception of the common citizen, the current movement of suppression of freedoms and imposition of an artificially manufactured consensus has nothing spontaneous about it; on the contrary.
He senses that an ambitious project is underway to standardize hearts and minds, which is becoming increasingly difficult to resist.
Faced with the escalating repression against freedom of thought and expression, this citizen, who works and pays his bills and taxes, is reduced to a passive spectator of events.
Between frightened and perplexed, he observes with dismay that not even consecrated journalists and elected members of Congress are free from persecution.
He senses something terrible and wrong is happening but swallows dryly before complaining.
For fear of also being crushed by powerful hidden or not-so-hidden forces.
He then adheres to the spiral of silence, a phenomenon I have already covered in another article.
Of course, all results, on the other hand, in a growing abyss between the masters of the narrative and the real society.
Even more so in a country where even the past is unpredictable, nobody knows where this will lead.
But history shows that all attempts to control society and suppress freedoms have ended badly.
*Luciano Trigo is a writer, journalist, translator and book editor. He is the author of ‘O viajante imóvel’, about Machado de Assis, ‘Engenho e memória’, about José Lins do Rego, and half a dozen other books, including children’s books.
**The columnist’s texts do not necessarily express the opinion of Gazeta do Povo.
With information from Gazeta do Povo